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Understand pain + the skills of being well to get the best out of your team and employees

The size of the problem of pain

Chronic pain is the number one global health burden, affecting millions of people in Europe and the US alone (an estimated 100 million people in each). The costs to society are staggering. A recent conference looking at the financial impact of pain upon society suggested up to €441bn each year in costs and loss of productivity (SIP, 2017).

The success of a business depends upon the performance of its leadership and employees. Consequently, there has been great interest in how to optimise performance in the workplace as companies seek to maximise their results. This can be achieved by asking the question: how can we engage the workforce to get the best results?

There are some simple principles to follow. Here are some examples:

  • clarify the company vision
  • clarify each individual’s strengths and create opportunities for these to be built upon
  • ensure each person feels valued and respected
  • create an environment that encourages trust, meaningful interactions and compassion
  • create a workplace where each person feels care for, supported and enabled

Chronic pain at work

This day has been too long

Chronic pain is a huge public health issue. The fact that it affects so many people means that there are inevitable consequences for businesses that involve people. Pain will affect performance, attendance and costs in terms of treatment and loss of productivity. This is a reality and therefore having a policy that supports the individual in the best possible way is a valuable part of creating an engaged workplace.

What is pain?

Pain can best be thought of as a need state that motivates us to take action to bring about relief. The relief is evidence that we have met the need. This is similar to thirst or hunger, when we implicitly know what to do. With pain however, people often don’t know what to do or do enough of the things that are necessary. Pain is part of the way that we defend ourselves in the face of a perceived threat or and uncertain threat. In other words, when our body systems interpret a situation as potentially threatening to me, it is likely I will feel pain. In persistent pain this becomes a predicted habit. Pain is not well related to tissue state or damage, but it is well related to perception of threat. We have known this since the late 70’s!

pain is not well related to tissue damage or injury

For example, neck pain: “I am feeling neck pain and tension”. What are my needs? To nourish the over-working muscles with easy movements and sensory practices, and to address the reasons why I am tense. Why could I be tense? I have been sat here feeling anxious for a long time, I am worried about……….., my boss is…………., my child is………… etc. Like thirst when we drink until it passes, we must fully address our ‘whole person’ needs. Fortunately we can address our needs whilst taking the opportunity to build our wellness and performance.

How do we address our needs and improve our performance?

Building wellness is our best way of creating a buffer to life’s challenges. These are simple skills we can implement and integrate into our day. Much like learning a musical instrument, with practice we improve and the effects build. Such a programme can exist as part of the way a company operates to care for the employees. There are many ways that this can be achieved with programme content that appeals to all.

To be well means that we have energy to engage with work and other people. This is an upward spiral as our work and others can have such a healthy effect upon our lives when there is meaning and purpose. Being well and building wellness impact positively upon performance as we seek to do our best each day. Peak performance emerges from focus and engagement in the task whilst sharing values with those around us and all buying into the vision of the company. In other words, we are all heading in the same direction, being intrinsically motivated to achieve results.

Employees with chronic pain

Work can be considered a healthy use of time. Therefore, I encourage people to view returning to work or participating in work to be part of the way of overcoming pain. There maybe existing parameters but these are impermanent. By following certain principles, we can build our fitness, capability and wellness, and more so in a supportive environment that inspires. This can be created by a company.

There must be clear and open communication between the parties as the person follows a programme of return, or is building his/her hours in the workplace. Again, the existence of a policy that supports and encourages the person, is a way of creating an environment that values the employees.

The Understand Pain + Building Wellness Workshops

Creating a programme of wellness

Working with your company to build a programme of wellness in your workplace. This includes simple practices and options to create the right environment and encourages individuals to participate in their own health and happiness. A healthy, happy and well workforce is an engaged workforce that delivers results.

  • wellness workshops for groups
    • practice examples: understand pain & addressing our needs, the use of movement, mindful practice (what we really know: reduces emotional hijacking, improves attention), planning & prioritising, strengths based coaching, how to blend and integrate these into your day to get the best you
  • 1:1 wellness mentoring to achieve peak performance
  • creating a wellness policy in your company
Creating a policy for return to work
  • establish a return to work programme
  • monitoring progress + how to address pain challenges
  • building wellness and achieving peak performance
  • supporting an individual’s return to work

If you would like to arrange a meeting to discuss the Workshops and Programmes, please contact Jo on 07518 445493

UP Social Enterprise ~ when you connect with UP and work with us, you are supporting social change. We deliver Understand Pain Workshops in society to encourage and enable the necessary changes with regards pain, the No1 global health burden. We also support the next generation of clinicians by providing sponsored places on the Pain Coach Workshops for undergraduates. Future plans include schools projects to tackle the issue of chronic pain in kids. Keep in touch!